Sex is a many-splendored thing, and can hardly be boiled down to a formula. Thank goddess for that. Yet, with the small portion of our brains we are capable of using, we’ve gleaned a few basic facts—which we often choose not to believe. Whether it’s because the sex ed classes of our youth (or lack thereof) left a lot to be desired, or because the internet is a confusing, many-tentacled beast, sex ed for adults is just as sorely needed as it is at any other age. Despite progress made in spreading real awareness, there is a lot of misinformation out there, some of it seemingly due to wishful thinking. The best way to keep sex as hot ‘n heavy as possible for all involved is to face facts (by busting myths). Here are 5, for starters:  

1. You can't get pregnant while menstruating 

Ahh, the cycle of life, am I right? Never a dull moment. While the easiest time to get pregnant is during ovulation, conception during menstruation does happen. If you have short or irregular cycles, your chances of having an egg present during menstruation are higher. Since an egg can live for several days, and sperm can live for up to a week inside your body, they may just get the quality time they’re looking for, even if the main event happens while you’re menstruating. Crazy, yes, but true. Condoms (or your choice contraceptive) can be a drag at times, but it doesn’t have to be. Tip: if you ask a guy to wear a condom and he has an excuse, you might consider that a red flag.

 

2. You can't get an STI from oral sex 

This one sucks—pun intended, yes. The good news is you’re less likely to get an STI from oral than from vaginal or anal, but it definitely happens. It’s possible for syphilis, gonorrhoea, herpes, and chlamydia to be transmitted orally. These risks can be mitigated by the use of a condom or dental dam—yet 34% of Americans never use protection during oral. Honestly, I can’t say I blame them, since I’m often in the guilty camp on this one. But, since reports show that STIs are on the rise (have you heard of this STI superbug?!), this should at least be an added incentive to get tested with your partner(s). Bottom line: there is risk in everything we do, even stepping out the door each morning. Only you know what level of protection works for you, your situation, and your comfort level.

3. Having anal sex can cause hemorrhoids  

The most common causes of hemorrhoids include: too much exertion while on the toilet (or working out); constipation; and anal infections. Whatever the cause, the result is painful swelling, especially when you’re sitting down. Anal sex, contrary to what some believe, will not cause hemorrhoids. This antiquated, homophobia-inspired, backward notion is on par with the idea of a kitten dying each time you masturbate.

As long as you don’t rush it like you’re trying to imitate mainstream porn, anal should feel amazing, and should not be painful! It’s really important to go slow and make sure you (and your anus) are fully relaxed. Also, lube. More lube. Your partner needs to understand and respect the need for a slower pace with anal. All of this said, if you already have hemorrhoids, anal sex can make it worse. 

4. The average cock is at least 6 inches long 

Another salute to mainstream porn for misleading depictions. While it’s next to impossible to find a male porn actor with a dick less than 6, 7, 8, or 9 (etc) inches long, according to a study published in the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI), the actual average length of an erect penis is 5.16 inches, and a flaccid penis is 3.61 inches. Average girth is 4.59 inches and 3.66 inches respectively. The study also found that an erect penis that’s 6.3 inches long is in the 95th percentile—meaning that of 100 men, only five would have a penis longer than that. 

5. Your vagina is likely to be “tight” or “loose” based on how much sex you’ve had 

The tight vs. loose vagina myth is just as common as the giant dick parade, just as faulty, and has just as little to do with actual pleasure.

Your vagina is a muscle that can expand and contract—just like an elastic. When aroused, the walls of the vagina get more supple and spacious, which makes penetration easier. On the flip side, if you’re scared or uncomfortable, the walls contract, making penetration difficult.

The idea of a “loose” vagina is a sheer fabrication used to slut-shame women, big surprise. The fact is, it doesn't matter who you do, or how often. While your gal’s shape and feel may change over time with age and/or childbirth, penetrative sex does not hold the same shapeshifting superpowers.

Here’s to hot, informed sex for all!

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